Identify three conflicts in “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell and explain how each conflict enhances the plot.
Brainstorming: First identify which conflicts are present in the novel: man vs man, man vs nature, man vs society, man vs himself.
Organizing: Fill in the graphic organizer below being sure to answer why the conflict adds to the story.
|Type of Conflict||Examples||Quote||Why SUSPENSEFUL?|
|Conflict #1||Evidence From Story||“…..” (#).||Explanation|
|Conflict #2||Evidence From Story||“…..” (#).||Explanation|
|Conflict #3||Evidence From Story||“…..” (#).||Explanation|
See also the grading rubric under the “Writing” tab for a description of developmental attributes
- Topic sentence answers prompt and provides title and author (6)
- Three conflicts are correctly identified (3)
- Specific examples from the story are presented to support
each type of conflict (12)
- Three direct quotes are selected, sandwiched and
cited correctly (9)
- Explanations for how each conflict adds to the story’s plot are
Insightful, and concluding sentences are powerful (12)
- Transition words are used to organize ideas (6)
- Diction is vivid and varied (9)
- Formal rules of writing are followed (7)
- Response is carefully proofread (6)
Total ______/70 _______%
The following response is color coded to identify the different parts of an effective response. The sentences highlighted in yellow are the main ideas (identifying the conflicts), the sentences in red are examples (how do you know), and the blue sections are the explanations that explain how the story creates suspense in the plot.
In Richard Connell’s short story, “The Most Dangerous Game,” three types of conflicts—man against nature, man against man, and man against himself— are used to create a suspenseful and thrilling piece of fiction. The first conflict introduced in the story is man versus nature. After Rainsford falls from the yacht, he must swim to the nearby island. Fighting the dangerous sea presents Rainsford with the constant threat of drowning, and the trip from boat to shore is long and difficult. Rainsford struggles to stay afloat and he notes, “For a seemingly endless time, he fought the sea” (10). It is likely Rainsford’s superb physical fitness and strong mental focus save him; the strong currents and dark night would have done in a weaker man. This conflict adds suspense to the story because the terror of the island is foreshadowed when Whitney tells his friend that the island is so forbidding that even cannibals would not consider living there. The foreboding evil of this place is further evident when Rainsford hears pistol shots coming from the island, a clear indication that inhabitants face danger and death. Rainsford, for the moment, conquers his conflict with nature, but there are other battles awaiting him. Another conflict presented in the story is man in opposition to man. This is an obvious conflict because General Zaroff, the story’s antagonist, hunts men and the one man he is looking forward to hunting is Rainsford. The general intends to give Rainsford a head start and then track him down in the jungle and kill hm. The general tells Rainsford, “ ‘You will find this game worth playing…Your brain against mine. Your woodcraft against mine. Your strength against mine. Outdoor chess! And the stake is not without value, eh? (10). The stake is Rainsford’s life. Rainsford must elude the general for three days if he is to stay alive and beat Zaroff. If Zaroff catches up with Rainsford, he is a dead man. This conflict creates the most exciting aspect of the story because Zaroff is a skilled hunter who has all the advantages. He knows the island terrain and has hunting dogs who can easily track a victim. The reader is rooting for Rainsford because he is the good guy and the underdog. No one wants a murderous lunatic to win but the general never loses. Connell masterfully presents a suspenseful plot by creating a conflict in which the desired outcome is highly improbable. The last conflict present in the story is man against himself. Rainsford has not had much sleep since reaching the island, and now he must work hard to stay away from General Zaroff. He is weary and terrified, but he must press onward. He tells himself, “’I will not lose my nerve. I will not’” (12). Rainsford must his fight his own fear and exhaustion in order to stay ahead of the general. This conflict adds suspense because if Rainsford doubts his own ability to outwit the general, then how is the reader supposed to believe the hero can win? Rainsford cannot indulge his fear because panic will cloud his judgment and he will make lethal mistakes. He also cannot give in to his need for rest because he does not have the luxury to put his guard down for a second or Zaroff will find his victim and win the game. All three conflicts create a gripping story.